You’ll dig KYU if only for the vibe: Industrial cool but comfortable, it immediately feels perfect for that last-minute happy hour or also a milestone birthday celebration. The bar’s always packed with people unable to land a coveted table, and the dining room rises to a bustling hum minutes after opening, full of trendy Wynwood hipsters but also people who know the real reason to come.
That begins when the kitchen starts sending out dishes, mostly small plates that each just might redefine a dish you’ve had many times, like the just-perfect roasted cauliflower, the well-charred duck breast burnt ends and the mixed-at-tableside hot pot—holy hell, people, that hot pot. Then comes the brontosaurus-sized pork rib, cut into tender and smoky slices that you’ll wrap in lettuce with pickled onions and tangy sauces that cut the richness.
All this awesomeness—seriously, is there a flawed dish anywhere on this menu?—comes courtesy of chef Raheem Sealey, who has been running the kitchen for years now but officially became the top guy when chef Michael Lewis split from the restaurant in December 2020. A St. Croix native, Sealey’s doing double duty these days as KYU’s executive chef and also at the helm of his side hustle, the Drinking Pig barbecue stand.
Sealey’s specialty is balancing equal measures of sour and sweet, with a mix of influences from Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and probably some new inspiration he’s working on right now. When ending a meal here, don’t leave without a tower of coconut cake that’s equal measures delicate and tasty and suddenly, before you know it, you’ve finished the whole slice. Favorite restaurant in all of Miami? We wouldn’t blame you for that conclusion.